Lagos, Nigeria (PANA) - Hopes that the secret talks between the Nigerian government and the Islamic sect Boko Haram could end the sect's incessant attacks have suffered a setback, after the mediators pulled out of the talks over alleged leakage of the main details of the talks.
A statement by the head of the mediators, Ibrahim Datti Ahmad, on Saturday said they (mediators) were embarrassed by the leakage, and have decided to quit.
“To our shock and dismay, no sooner had we started this dialogue, Nigerian newspapers came out with a lot of the details of the meeting held. This development has embarrassed us very much and has created strong doubts in our minds about the sincerity on the government’s side in our discussion as the discussion is supposed to be very confidential to achieve any success.
“In view of this unfortunate and unhelpful development, we have no option but to withdraw from these early discussions. We sincerely regret that an opportunity to negotiate and terminate this cycle of violence is being missed,” the statement quoted Ahmad, who heads the Supreme Council for Sharia in Nigeria (SCSN), as saying.
According to the local media, Ahmad was picked for the mediation role by the sect because its founder, Mohammed Yusuf, was also a member of the SCSN when he was alive.
Since the talks started last week, the local media have been awash with the supposed details, which include that the sect wanted all its arrested members to be released by the federal government, in return for a three-month cessation of attacks.
Since launching its violent campaign in 2009, Boko Haram, which is campaigning for the institution of the Islamic legal code Sharia in the country, has killed over 1,200 people, according to the Nigerian Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Oluseyin Petinrin.
-0- PANA SEG 18Mar2012